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Harmony Curriculum Leads to Transformational Journey for Once Struggling St John’s

Rated as inadequate by Ofsted in 2013 an academy in the Good Shepherd Trust, St John’s C of E Primary School in Dorking, has been on a transformational journey, and is now the number-one school in Surrey for progress in all three subjects.

The school has recently introduced a new ‘Harmony’ curriculum, inspired by HRH Prince of Wales’ book and in partnership with Ashley Primary School, Walton On Thames.

The new curriculum puts the school’s farm at the centre of their learning and allows the children to see how everything in their world is connected and develop an understanding of their responsibly in being tomorrow’s leaders. 

With just over half of the school classified as disadvantaged and one third with Special Educational Needs, the school have many different approaches to cater for the needs of each child, allowing all children to shine.

The school constantly strives to create the best possible learning opportunities for the children. 

Thanks to funding from several charities, the school has recently installed an ‘Immersive Technology’ room to really bring learning to life.

The room gives children the opportunity to feel, smell and see thousands of interactive scenes, transporting them to places like volcanos, rainforests and even the great fire of London.

In November of last year, the school launched its radio station named after their curriculum – Harmony Live. This new station hooks onto the children’s topic of learning including their recent local history week where they interviewed past kings and queens of our country. 

St John’s is being called upon by other Surrey schools to inspire good practice and so everyone can learn from their successes. Since September 2018, key members of staff from St John’s have supported Green Oak Primary School in Godalming resulting in a formal partnership as a ‘sister school’.

This arrangement will allow expertise in both schools to benefit from increased capacity and shared resources.

The head teacher, Mark Richards, said:

“I am exceptionally proud of the children’s achievements which is testament to the hard work and tenacity of our incredible teachers and support staff. The whole team’s determination for ensuring all children succeed regardless of their circumstances or history makes St John’s an inspiring place to be. With the right provision surrounding each child, the sky is their limit and our staff are proving this can be true.”

Tony Billings, Chief Executive Officer of The Good Shepherd Trust said:

“The journey Mr Richards and his team have taken St John’s on is truly inspirational. Educational excellence and holistic Church school education go hand in hand and we are very proud of all its children and staff for their continued hard work.”

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